While NATO officials continue to try to present the Afghan War as slowing down, the latest UN figures show that the civilian death toll continues to soar, with civilian casualties up 24% in the last six month period.
From January to June of 2014, the UN documented 1,564 civilian deaths and 3,289 injuries. Stability across the nation is generally worse, and the tolls are likely to rise further in the second half of the year.
Interestingly enough, the nature of the civilian casualties also seems to be changing markedly, with 40% of the casualties now caused during fighting in civilian areas. Previously, the civilian casualties were overwhelmingly the result of IEDs.
This may reflect NATO’s transition to mostly on-base operations, making them a less likely target for roadside attacks, and meaning the Taliban, which have transitioned to attacking Afghan government forces, are simply confronting them where they can find them, mostly in cities.